Breakthrough! Recent research from the LMA

A vaccine 100X’s stronger 

Vaccines for such diseases as meningitis could be 100 times stronger thanks to a discovery by Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers.

Many vaccines contain both proteins and carbohydrates, or sugars. It was long assumed that only the protein part made people immune when they were treated with the vaccine.

But researchers discovered that the immune system also reacts to the carbohydrates. By fine-tuning that part, future vaccines could be even more effective than they already are. The vaccines also could serve different types of people than they do now.

The discovery was made by injecting infected rats with two vaccines that had different proteins but the same carbohydrates. The vaccines worked equally well. Researchers then investigated how the carbohydrates in vaccines worked and came up with a prototype.

The research was led by Dr. Fikri Avci of BWH and Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Dennis Kaspar, director of BWH’s Channing Laboratory. The findings were published this month in the journal “Nature Medicine.”

From press materials.

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